The non-charismatic elders

When I grow up, I want to be a crazy old lady.  As lifetime goals go, it’s not an unreasonable one, though perhaps a little unusual.  Certain of my friends have therefore taken to calling me ‘grandma crazy’.  There have also been comments that I now only need work on the old age portion of my goal.  However, this goal continues to be an attractive driving force in my life – not only to survive, but to experience that time in life when, just as in childhood, your more ridiculous or foolish actions are coddled rather than reprimanded.  Somehow, with age or youth, even though you might be ugly and wrinkled and fat and completely not charismatic or cute, everybody loves you and puts up with you.

I like people.  I like being able to talk to others I don’t know well.  But in my current status as a young, somewhat attractive woman, it’s not generally socially acceptable to strike up conversations with random strangers in my immediate vicinity.  It’s also possibly unsafe.  So I don’t do it.  But someday, when I’m wrinkly and quite possibly drooling, it’s won’t be as dangerous or ridiculous.  I’m excited about that time of my life.

I also look forward to the time when I’ll be able to generally be ornery to the world, crab at my friends and have them crab back at me, and generally have my disagreeableness taken in stride.  Gina and I have already decided we’re going to generally pester anyone younger than us with conflicting directions.  I’m also saving up a variety of quirky insults to use with her in competition.  “Your tootsies smell like cat breath,” and “your hair looks like baby spit-up” are some current favorites.  I also plan to move very quickly in my walker and announce my arrival with hee-hee-hee loud cackles.  I may need to grow out my thinning hair long again though, so it can stream behind me.  Or maybe I’ll just get a bad wig.  It’s going to be wonderful.

For the moment, I try to preserve my inner crazy (despite professionalism at work and social norms outside of it) and study up on old people around me.  The two old guys I met yesterday hiking at Lynn Woods were perfect studies.  As they approached from the opposite direction, they started just talking at us.  No thought to the appropriateness of accosting young girls in a secluded spot.  “Are you going around the loop?” they asked, and “Where are you from?” and “Are you in school?  For what?” and “What do you do now” and “What did you study in college?”.  After an extended conversation where my career path was meticulously examined (Gina got off easy here – everyone knows you can’t make a living as an English major), it was decided that I should work as an admin in an architecture firm to get back on that path, eventually becoming the next Frank Lloyd Wright.  After all, I have to really pursue these dreams – new different dreams are not allowed.

My favorite part of the discussion though was the fact that we had no idea where we were.  We thought we were going in the right direction, but weren’t really sure, and the old guys offered to give us directions, since they didn’t have a map with them.  Old guy 1 drew a map in the dirt (Wait, you draw in the dirt?  Me too!  I’m already half-old, yipee!) and started to instruct us on where we’d been and where we were going.  He told us to keep going straight and we’d be fine.  Old guy 2 said no, we should definitely head to the left, and that would be the right way.  Old guy 1 frowned, and said to not take lefts or rights, but just keep to the main wide road.  Old guy 2 said of curse keep to the main road, but that it definitely bent to the left just ahead.  And then it climbed a hill.  Old guy 1 said yes, yes, the path goes back and forth, up and down, but just be sure to keep to the main one rather than veering off on any little side paths.  Finally, we thought we knew what we were doing (again), and set off under the blessing of both old guys after thanking them profusely.  And they were very helpful, especially with the path.  But also they were a good model for my ultimate life goals – someday I’ll be getting in random little fights with my old friends about ridiculous, superfluous stuff in front of strangers.  Oh wait, I do that now.

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There is no I in Tame

One of the notable parts of going to a private upper-tier school for college is that most of the the people there think they’re smart. Other notable parts include lots of female athletes and Jews, but the first thing that really smacks you in the face as a freshman is the way even the dumb ones think they’re smart.

Take that guy on my freshman floor, who we’ll call ‘John’. I’m sure he had good memorization skills, and maybe a scientific mind. He was a perfectly nice guy, too, he just didn’t really understand basic social interaction. He did, however, know how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I looked at him make a few quick turns and have the thing solved, and I knew I should be able to do the same. I’m spatial, I’m an architect. I get how the cube is suppose to revolve, how you have to move things around in conjunction with other colors and sides of the cube.

In the ending months of 2007 I was finally ready to fulfill this lifelong dream. I had a Rubik’s Cube. I had my dazzling intellect. I had plenty of spare time at my job. What more did I need?

Alas, as of the turn of the year, I’m still stuck. I’ve got the four top corners easily, and I can get the whole of one side complete, but everything breaks down beyond that. The Cube keeps sitting on my desk, taunting me. I keep wondering if it would come out better if I just twisted the sides without looking, random chance guiding the steps. Occasionally co-workers who know my predilection for puzzles point and laugh. And most unfortunately, this particular cube has the melted-plastic colors rather than stickers, so no cheating. Although I have considered snapping the thing apart in order to suitably rearrange the sides.

Instead, to tame this little tangle, I’m turning to my old friend, the interweb. And, lo and behold, step-by-step instructions from the pros. Best of all, they teach you the strategy behind the thing, rather than just giving you a simple solution. Reading just a bit I’ve discovered there are multiple solutions and people actually went out and found bunches of them. Way to go, math brainiacs who can actually communicate effectively.

So I am going over this silly cube square face by square face just as soon as I finish typing. And this time (with the help of a few dozen others) I will succeed!